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Security Council Boss to US: Close the JCPOA Deal Now, Or Else

March 4, 2022
2 min read
Security Council Boss to US: Close the JCPOA Deal Now, Or Else

The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council has issued what appeared to be a veiled ultimatum to the US on talks to revive the JCPOA in Vienna. In a tweet on March 3, Ali Shamkhani warned that if a satisfactory agreement was not reached “in the near future”, the American contingent would live to regret it.

“The strategy of active resistance defeated Trump's policy of maximum pressure, [as confessed] by current US administration,” he wrote “If the Vienna talks do not lead to a good deal, the current US administration will feel defeated in the near future, due to the lack of a timely use of diplomatic opportunities.”

In an earlier tweet on February 24, Shamkhani had sounded relatively optimistic. “A good deal is possible,” he had written, “because of significant progress in the talks, largely due to Iranian initiatives. But the final stage of the Vienna talks will not take place without Western political decision-making to resolve crucial issues that are required to ‘balance the deal.’”

On March 3, the coordinator of the sixth round of talks, Enrique Mora of the European Union, wrote that indirect talks between Iran and the United States on salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal were “in the final stages” but "definitely not there yet.”

"We are close to a possible deal," Jalina Porter, the US State Department's principal deputy spokesperson, told reporters on Thursday. But she, too, cautioned that unresolved issues remained, and time was of the essence given the pace of Iran's nuclear advances.

It has also been widely reported that head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will visit Tehran on Saturday, March 5, raising the prospect of progress on one of the last, most sensitive issues blocking a revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. “They will discuss outstanding safeguards issues with a view to addressing them," the IAEA said in a statement.

Several officials have told Reuters that a major sticking point in the talks is that Tehran wants the matter of uranium traces found at several old but undeclared sites in Iran to be closed, even though Western powers say this is a separate issue to the deal.  Years later, the IAEA is still seeking answers from Iran on how the traces got there.


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